The annual conferences extending over several days and held in English are dedicated to one of the thematic focus areas of the Institute. They are intended to generalize and internationalize the objects of research at the Institute in disciplinary terms.
These international conferences help to generate diverse contacts that promote the inclusion of the Institute in various networks. Their participants are the leading figures in the respective field as well as young scholars presenting the findings of their research in this venue. Selected papers from the annual conferences appear in the Institute's Yearbook.
International Annual Conference
in Cooperation with the German Literature Archive, Marbach
Placing the Irreplaceable – Restitution of Jewish Cultural Property:
Negotiations, Historical Dimensions, Documentation
16–17 November 2017
The systematic destruction of European Jewish culture during World War II attained unprecedented dimensions; its repercussions can be felt to this day. International events such as the 1998 Washington Conference on Nazi Confiscated Art, resulting in the declaration of the Washington Principles and encouraging initiatives of provenance research and restitution worldwide, are testament to an increasing public awareness of related topics. But the ideas driving these initiatives were by no means new: negotiations about placement and restitution of looted Jewish cultural property had already been conducted in the early postwar period. The long history of activities and debates concerning the handling of displaced books, art works, and ritual objects – fragments of a disrupted past – reveals important layers of European political and cultural history after 1945. It brings to the surface dissonant perspectives on the future of Jewish life and culture after the war, exposes distinct forms of political and legal principles implemented during the Cold War in relation to property and ownership rights, and shows the different ways of Jewish memory creation in light of the Holocaust.
The aim of this conference is to associate two fields of research and activity which, all too often, take separate paths: the historical exploration of actors, institutions, and debates about the protection and restitution of looted Jewish cultural property after 1945 on the one hand, and the realm of provenance investigation, the reconstruction of collections, and the care for related material on the other. We hope to encourage a discussion that combines the actual concerns of finding and preserving relevant assets as well as their documentation, with a historical perspective on the significance of related questions for Jewish memory, recognition and belonging in the twentieth century.
Please note: Guests are welcome with prior registration. To register please email Pierre-Oliver Rudolph until 9 November 2017.